Ever since Tom Raines' dad's luck ran out, they've been drifting from casino to casino. Tom earns money where he can byReview Published July 10, 2012.
Ever since Tom Raines' dad's luck ran out, they've been drifting from casino to casino. Tom earns money where he can by winning at the VR games. His mom has been long gone, the girlfriend of an executive in a multi-national corporation. And that's when things change. Tom is offered a spot at the Pentagonal Spire, an elite military academy that trains the best to fight in World War Three. Though the promise of a constant home and meals is tempting at first, Tom discovers that he may be giving up more than he bargained for.
The best way that I can describe this book is an interesting mix of Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card and Little Brother by Cory Doctorow. It's definitely science fiction and is heavy on the computer and technology references. Which, is outstanding.
I was pretty immediately captivated by the idea of a war being fought in interplanetary space, but without the loss of human lives. Each side is fighting for control of resources out in space, and recruits children to fight using VR (virtual reality) machines. When Tom is recruited to join the academy, he undergoes a medical procedure to have a chip implanted in his head. He, and the other recruits, download their homework and have it processed into their brain through the help of the chip. It allows them to learn several different language and almost instantly understand math and science. But, it also makes their brains and their bodies vulnerable to cyber attacks and external control.
While I was definitely hooked on the concept, and even most of the plot, I found myself not sold on the characters. I think this is where the book definitely diverged from the likes of Ender's Game for me. Tom was a character I wanted to sympathize with, but one I definitely wanted to keep at arm's length. I'm not sure if it's the fact that he's a male narrator (I haven't really had trouble with that in the past, but it's possible), or exactly what it was. But, whatever it was, it caused the book to drag a little in parts when I felt like the plot needed to move on just a little bit. And there was a part at the very end (of which I won't disclose because it's a total spoiler), that made me completely detach myself from Tom. But, don't despair too much, Tom's friends at The Pentagonal Academy are well worth the read.
Fans of techno sci-fi thrillers are going to eat this book up. It's chock full of great technology, war (in a virtual realm), and twisted loyalties and politics. Give this to your gamer friend that claims they don't read. Maybe they'll change their mind. Oh, and the movie rights have already been sold to FOX. ...more
Tiger Lily has always been different. Adopted as an infant by the village shaman, Tik Tok, she is a skilled hunter, andReview published July 6, 2012.
Tiger Lily has always been different. Adopted as an infant by the village shaman, Tik Tok, she is a skilled hunter, and pretty rough around the edges. When an Englishman is stranded on the island after a shipwreck, she helps to nurse him back to health, and things begin to change. She meets Peter Pan, a bold and reckless boy who leads his band of lost boys (saved from the slavery of Captain Hook). Tiger Lily is charmed by his semi-arrogant yet very vulnerable manner, though she doesn't believe in happy endings and no that it can't end well.
Tiger Lily was such a different experience from many of the books that I've read this year. It is narrated from the point of view of Tinker Bell. This point of view lent itself to interesting observations about both Peter and Tiger Lily's character and their feelings, since fairies can read feelings, but they can't speak. Tinker Bell is a narrator that is mostly in the background interpreting the scene, but does make a few important appearances. So, though the book was written in first person, it felt like it was written in third person. Very cool.
Though the pace of Tiger Lily is slow, there really is a lot in the book that I wasn't expecting, and each word was so very carefully placed. Issues like gender identity, abuse, loneliness, and growing up are all included. Hook doesn't make very many appearances, but there are enough glimpses of his character to make you feel a little bit squirmy when he does come around.
Fans of Peter Pan will really enjoy this new take on the girl that loved Peter Pan before Wendy ever came along. There's also a very sweet romance that I think you'll enjoy as well....more
In Goredd, the peace between humans and dragons is delicate at best. A treaty signed 4 decades ago has crumbled to be mReview Published July 13, 2012.
In Goredd, the peace between humans and dragons is delicate at best. A treaty signed 4 decades ago has crumbled to be merely a formality as the distrust and unease grows. When the Prince is discovered murdered and beheaded, the suspicion immediately falls to the dragons. Seraphina, a half dragon and apprentice to the court musician, is just trying to fly under the radar. She keeps her dragon identity a secret. But she is soon discovered to have an amazing musical talent. As she begins to investigate the Prince's murder she discovers chilling details about her family and has to work even harder to protect her very dangerous secret.
Seraphina wins major points for creativity. Not only in the species of dragons and their background story, but also in the very nature of dragons themselves. I was also captivated by Seraphina's methods of dealing with her "mind pearls" or memories passed on to her by her mother. These little snippets of memory initially plague Seraphina and cause her to black out at the most inopportune moments.
In Seraphina's world, being a half-dragon is impossible. Who knows what could happen to her if she were to be discovered. Her father insists that she keeps a low profile and under no circumstances displays her musical talent publicly. The identity of her mother is unknown to the humans, and the identity of her father is unknown to the dragons. Seraphina, beyond having to live a lie, is incredibly lonely, with only the companionship of her tutor who knows her true identity. As a friendship develops between herself and Prince Lucian Kiggs, the discomfort of her lies grows.
With the amazing worldbuilding I found myself surprised that I just could not fully engage in the story. It's difficult to pinpoint exactly why I didn't love it, since all the elements were there. It could be a case of bad timing, or just the sheer length of the book at over 460 pages. I also found several of the supporting characters, particularly members of the court, difficult to keep track of.
Readers who have a real love of high fantasy will probably love this one. However, for those who are selective in high fantasy, this may not be a good fit....more
It has been several generations since the human race was changed forever through a disastrous genetic exReview posted July 18 at Emily's Reading Room.
It has been several generations since the human race was changed forever through a disastrous genetic experiment that caused the Reduction. The Luddites, who despise innovation and technology, keep the Reduced on their estates as slaves.
Elliot North is the youngest daughter of the North estate. As a Luddite, she is born to social privilege. But, even so, the estate is near financial ruin. The Luddite's control is slipping as a new generation of children that are innovative and bright are born to the Reduced. Elliot's childhood friend, Kai, is one of these children. When Elliot does not run away with Kai to the Post enclave, she hears nothing from him for four years. And when he re-enters her life, it is obvious that much has changed.
My excitement for this book has been slowly building for months. I have not read Persuasion, the Jane Austen novel that inspired For Darkness Shows the Stars, but am a fan of Austen's other works. My anticipation was further built by the raving reviews that were popping up in my google reader and goodreads page.
I could not imagine a more satisfying story. I was up late into the night on a Friday, and spent a good portion of the day Saturday devouring every single page. Combining the elements of a world torn apart by a disaster that decimated so much of the human race, with the classic story that Austen created, it was a match made in heaven for me. Though the story is not heavy on the elements surrounding the genetic experiment that lead to the ruin of humanity, there is enough to make me suspend disbelief to fill in the holes. And I have to admit that as the daughter of a botanist that works with genetically modified plants, I was very much cheering Elliot on. In fact, through the novel I was firmly in Elliot's court and never wavered in my support of everything that she did, even though at times her reasoning was flawed.
In regards to Kai, I have to say that his coldness to Elliot at times took my breath away. I think that this was very cleverly offset by the letters they secretly wrote to each other as children that were interspersed throughout the novel. It is obvious that both Elliot and Kai were hurt deeply by Kai's departure. And with each cutting remark, I was heartbroken for Elliot. I wanted to protect her and just shake Kai. And yet, I wanted Kai to understand and overcome his disappointment and grief, and just work it out!
This book was everything I hoped it would be and so much more. The eventual romance is one of the best that I've ever read and ranks right up there with my favorites. I'll happily admit to having a lump form in my throat several times, and even shedding a few tears at the end. A re-read of this story will definitely be in order very soon. If you haven't read For Darkness Shows the Stars, believe me when I tell you that it deserves to be next on your reading list....more